Last year on Valentine’s Day, I gave my dad a card with this picture and caption on the front:
This picture wasn’t actually taken on Valentine’s day. It was taken on the night of my first dance recital, which is why I’m wearing make up. My mother didn’t generally let her six-year old run around looking like a two-bit hooker.
Just on special occasions.
I thought I’d clarify because these days you never can tell. I’ve seen some of the outfits in the girls’ section at Target.
The point is, the picture fit the sentiment of the card really well, so I used it. My dad has always been my hero.
Have you ever seen the movie Life is Beautiful? It’s about a father who takes elaborate measures to make his son think the Nazi prison camp they’ve been sent to is a big game. He does this to protect his son from fear and from feelings of inferiority.
That is what my father has done for me in respect to Parkinson’s disease. He was diagnosed at 35-years old. He’s 67 now and in all of that time I have heard him utter very few complaints, but many, many jokes – often at his own expense. He’s kept us laughing, even as his mobility, his independence and now his mind has deteriorated. At this point, the drugs he takes to improve his quality of life are as much hindrances as they are help.
He is sleepy, confused and forgetful. Sometimes he hallucinates. This intelligent, educated, well-read man often has trouble understanding simple directions. Sometimes I lose patience with him, but I don’t mean to.
This year, for Valentine’s day, my daddy gave this to me.
And inside was this.
If daughters were flowers…
…he’d still pick me.
He picked that necklace out on his own. It’s beautiful and in perfect accordance with my taste – simple yet elegant. But what really got me was the card that went with it.
I could tell he was sleepy when he was signing it because he signed the outside.
I almost started bawling when I saw this.
Even through his haze, he still managed to get the Love out. Just like he always has.
And so, even though we’ve had a rough road, I’d still pick him, too.
In a second.
I love you, Daddy.